Corinthians

Coming alongside others in small groups

I saw an advert for a church recently that mentioned warm fellowship – it was definitely intended to be an incentive to draw people in. I don’t think the offer of ‘fellowship’ is really that enticing for many people … what is fellowship other than a hurried cup of coffee after a church service, before everyone rushes home to tend to roasting potatoes?

In Acts, Luke writes about how the Early Church made fellowship a priority.

‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ (Acts 2:42)

Why is fellowship important?

Without getting too deep into a lesson in ancient Greek, there’s a word used in the New Testament that means fellowship, which is koinonia. Two main ideas stem from it: ‘to share together, take part together’, and ‘to share with’, the act of giving to others. But how do we effectively share with one another?

I think that small groups are essential for developing fellowship in a church. To share with and care for one another. Yet it’s often easier said than done, which is why teaching found in series such as Paraclesis: Journeying Together is so important. To learn how to journey with someone, to have real, effective and honest fellowship with one another, just as God calls us to do:

‘He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message)

The main premise of Paraclesis: Journeying Together is for people to share what they have learnt through their life experiences with other people, in order to help them through the challenges they are facing.

Paraclesis: Journeying Together sets up churches and small groups to experience and practice true fellowship with teaching, resources and creative ideas. It teaches us to come alongside one another instead of just standing side-by-side each other at the coffee morning.

For more information, visit www.paraclesis.org.uk

About Emily Owen

Emily Bio Pic smEmily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.

Resource of the Month: Love With Skin On

LWSO

Love With Skin On: The gift of your journey

We are all on different journeys through life, and we all experience ups and downs. How can we, the Church, use our experiences, our journeys, to help those around us going through the same thing?

Love With Skin On reveals how Trevor Partridge’s personal journey has led him to ask how the Church can help people who struggle with the everyday issues and circumstances of life, and how he believes the answer is to be found in the rediscovery of the ‘paraclesis’ ministry of the New Testament. He addresses whether the time has come to redress the balance between pastoral care in the Church and professional input, and suggests it is time to call forth the paraclesis – coming alongside other – ministry.

Deepen your understanding of 2 Corinthians 1:4, and be inspired as you grasp the concepts contained in the book to adopt this new initiative in your small groups, whole church and wider community.

SGC Paraclesis

 

Introducing Paraclesis

Love With Skin On unpacks the heart of CWR’s church initiative, Paraclesis.

Paraclesis is a new, fresh approach to pastoral care within your church and local community. There is a huge resource of life experience lying dormant in congregations, an untapped reservoir of experience and support that could be released to touch the lives of others in the Church and wider community. This new care initiative, alongside its supporting print and digital resources, is designed to reach out to others who are struggling both in our churches and surrounding neighbourhoods.

‘When I think about Paraclesis, my heart is just bursting with excitement – I sense this is just the beginning of an exciting journey for our church and its members!’

The tried and tested Paraclesis: Journeying Together programme and accompanying resources, including the Daily Guide, are now available for your church to begin their journey. Find out more about Paraclesis here…

About Trevor J. Partridge Trevor J. Partridge is not only a co-founder of the Christian charity CWR, but also has a wealth of pastoral experience and a personal connection with Paraclesis as he has developed the initiative over the past 15 years. He holds a degree in Theology and is a pastor, counsellor and author. He has travelled extensively, teaching and preaching at seminars, conferences and churches around the world.

 

Paraclesis: Journeying Together for your small group

As a member of a small group for around a year, I have really enjoyed watching the relationships within our group grow and develop as we have met each week. Although I have known some of the members for many years, I have found that a totally different dynamic has evolved over time. We have created a very honest and comfortable environment where we can openly discuss and challenge one another. And so it is for this reason that when I found out about Paraclesis: Journeying Together, CWR’s new six-week series that offers the Church a fresh perspective on pastoral care, I knew it was going to be a great opportunity to once again challenge and grow as a small group, alongside others in our church.

The word ‘Paraclesis’ is one you may or may not have heard of in your lifetime. I personally had absolutely no idea what it meant until recently. It turns out that this word is actually built around the Greek word Paraklesis and means ‘one who comes alongside’, and it is this exact definition that has been used to unfold Paraclesis: Journeying Together. Pastor and co-founder of CWR, Trevor J. Partridge, has worked with CWR to develop this fresh initiative as a response to the felt need for more care and support in the Church today. It has been shaped and grown over the last 15 years and maintains the following Scripture at its core:

‘He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message)

It explains on the website (www.paraclesis.org.uk) that there are weekly videos and small group study guides for each week, as well as a Small Group Leader’s Guide, which provides more practical ideas on how to help everyone journey together, in the way that God journeys alongside us. I am excited to see how Paraclesis: Journeying Together is really going to transform both our small group and our church’s culture of care, so that we can enable each other to use our personal experiences to turn into gifts of support and care for others around us.

To find out more about Paraclesis: Journeying Together, click here.

 

About Charlotte Moore

Charlotte is a recent graduate, who is now working as a Digital Marketing Assistant at CWR. She hopes to continue to build her career in digital marketing and web content management and when she isn’t at CWR, she is playing drums in her local church or planning her next holiday to an exciting new destination.